A haunting phenomenon called “super fog” could make driving extremely dangerous through parts of coastal North Carolina in coming days, the state says.
The N.C. Forest Service issued the alert Sunday, June 26, and linked the development to the Ferebee Road wildfire in Hyde County, along the Pamlico Sound. The fire has been burning about a week and covers nearly 2,000 acres.
“‘Super fog’ forms when a mixture of smoke and moisture released from damp, smoldering organic material such as brush, leaves and trees, mixes with cooler, nearly saturated air,” the forest service reports.
“In ‘super fog,’ visibility is reduced to less than 10 feet, and in some instances, can be zero. Under light wind conditions, ‘super fog’ meanders through low terrain areas such as creek beds or drainage ditches. ‘Super fog’ can be extremely dangerous over roadways and highways.”
Commuters between Rose Bay, Pantego and Ponzer are being warned “significant smoke” is drifting across the Highway 264 and Highway 45 corridors. Flight restrictions are in place, and road closures are possible, officials said.
“Super fog” has been cited as “the cause of several large, multi-vehicle pileups” across the nation, according to the National Weather Service.
Among the most recent was deadly March 3 pile up on Interstate 95 in Florida that involved 17 vehicles, including four 18-wheelers, according to the Miami Herald. Three people were killed, and “several people were taken to the hospital,” the newspaper reported.
As of 3 p.m. June 26, the Ferebee Road Fire covered 1,936 acres in Hyde County and was 20% contained, the forestry service said.
It is suspected lightning started the fire, WCTI reported, and it quickly spread “due to a combination of heat, dryness and wind,” officials said. The smoke has drifted as far away as Beaufort and Washington counties, WCTI said.